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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  March 31, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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home. my question is when they return, the likelihood they will be able to regain some of the places they have left. i see your eyes closed, i know you're not deep in thought. we got you. >> sorry about that. yeah, i mean, i think -- we don't know where they're going to go but we'll try to make some gains and they will, no doubt, as war has progressed. it ebbs and flows but they haven't been able to make gains refitting and regrouping. they're at the weakest point they've been at. i don't see significant gains being made no matter where they move to. >> it was so interesting to hear kirby talk about that ominous 40-mile convoy we focused on because we had seen it on the satellite photos and him saying it's their assessment it has basically fallen apart, that it
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was evident there was a lack of planning on the russians' part. but, of course, now it sounds like they're regrouping and no one knows what they're planning to do next. >> well, that was a resupply convoy he was being asked about. the inevitable consequence of that, especially in the face of ukrainian resistance, in the face of quick, nimble, almost hit-and-run sort of attacks from the ukrainians using the weapons that have continued to flow in was this resupply convoy fell apart and the russian troops that were supposed to be around there, less than 20% perhaps, was the number given from john kirby, started moving back. he didn't want to use the word withdraw or retreat. it remains the assessment these troops will be pulled back into belarus, refitted, and then perhaps the u.s. assessment is they will then be sent into
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donbas, the donbas region which is the region which moscow has said it will be prirp advertising and that's what the u.s. expects to see. it's only 48 hours or so since russia has said that. it's too quick for them to have moved back into belarus, refitted, repositioned and then already gotten into donbas some 500 miles away that will take time, but that is part of what the u.s. assesses russia will try to do as the days and weeks go by here. >> okay. oren liebermann, colonel collins, thank you both. vladimir putin is facing resistance. the head of british intelligence said putin has massively misjudged the situation in ukraine by miscalculating the strength of the ukrainian resistance. looking at a russian tank on fire here. the uk intelligence director added putin is also dealing with opposition among his military who have low morale, refused to carry out orders, and are
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sabotaging their own equipment. and in the last hour president biden said putin may have forced out some of his top aides. listen. >> he seems to be -- i'm not saying this with certainty -- he seems to be self-isolating and there's some indication he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers. >> a short time ago the ukrainian nuclear authority said all but a small number of russian forces have withdrawn from the chernobyl site of that 1986 nuclear disaster the russian troops took control of that early on in their invasion in february. >> the u.s. also says it has seen russians pulling back from an airport they seized northwest of kyiv. the nato secretary-general warns the russians are not withdrawing but repositioning to the contested donbas region. ukraine believes russians are also regrouping in belarus to the north. president biden says he's skeptical about any russian pullback.
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>> thus far there is no clear evidence he's pulling all of these forces out. there is also evidence he is beefing up his troops in the donbas area. depending on your view of putin, i'm a little skeptical. it's an open question whether he's actually pulling back and going to say i'm just going to focus on the donbas and i'm not worried about the rest of the country. i'm a skeptic. i don't have proof. >> meanwhile the russian attacks continue. images from kyiv and chernihiv. the mayor says attacks are actually increasing. let's go to don now. we'll hold on that. military officials in ukraine say russian forces may be regrouping, as we said, in belarus, the area to the north,
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where they might replenish plans. >> ed lavandera is live in the southern port city of odesa. ed, what are you seeing there? >> reporter: well, here just a few moments ago air raid sirens just went off for about eight minutes. the sound was mixed with church bells ringing here at night. so a very surreal sound and scene as the city remains under curfew, the streets totally empty and quiet. obviously many people here watching with a great deal of concern what is happening in the northern part of ukraine and trying to make sense of exactly what russian forces are up to and what their plan will be. as we've been reporting it appears russian forces moving back toward belarus in large part trying to regroup, and that raises the question where they will move to next, do they have plans to move in through eastern ukraine and continue to move down the coastline of the sea of azov and the black sea, perhaps
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down toward odesa to create that land bridge connecting with crimea. that is the concern and that is the expectation many people we've talk to believe might happen next. the timing of all of that is still very much up in the air but there's a great level of distrust of what the russians are saying publicly trying to figure out what they're going to physically do on ground next. >> ed, what about that southern city of mariupol, because we had heard maybe they were going to be setting up an evacuation route but it was stymied. >> reporter: right. so this continues to be a dramatic and horrific situation. there were reports and plans today to try to get 45 buses close there to mariupol to be able to evacuate some 1,500 to 2,500 people, according to the deputy mayor who describes the residents living there in mariupol as living like mice
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underground in shelters and bunkers, so there's this desperate need to get these people evacuated. however, there's still more than 100,000 people that need to be evacuated. throughout the last few hours we've heard reports that the buses that were trying to reach mariupol had been stopped by russian forces at gunpoint, so it's unclear exactly what kind of progress they're making. it might not even be until midnight local time before we get an idea if they've been able to successfully reach a handful of people there in the city that need to be evacuated. so that continues to be a very dangerous and fluid situation here this evening. >> ed lavandera, thank you very much. let's bring in don lemon in lviv in western ukraine. don, tell us what you're seeing. we're seeing similar to what ed just talked about, at least through the eyes of folks we have interviewed here in mariupol, alisyn and victor. we interviewed a family who
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escaped just a short time ago, a few days ago, and got here to lviv and talked about the checkpoints they experienced along the way and their entire experience. in the meantime the death toll has risen from a russian missile hitting a government building tuesday in mykolaiv in southern ukraine. cnn's ben wedeman is there. ben, hello to you. the first report feared that three were killed, and now we know that number is much higher. talk to us about that. what's going on? >> reporter: yeah, the initial death toll was quite low, but what's clear many people -- and we were up close to that ruined building yesterday -- it's clear that many more people were trapped inside. and what we've seen steadily that death toll has been rising. it's currently 20 but what is important to stress is that attack took place tuesday morning at 8:45 local time, more
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than 48 hours later. the rescue workers are still digging bodies out of the ruins. somewhere in this jumble of concrete, bricks and twisted metal are more bodies trapped in the ruins of the office of mykolaiv's regional governor. tuesday morning a russian missile struck the building killing more than a dozen people, wounding many more. >> they bombarded our city and civilians are dying here. >> reporter: the mykolaiv mayor syenkevych saw war coming long ago and prepared himself. >> in 2014 i said the war will be like this. so everything you see on me is bulletproof vest, boots, anything i bought it a couple years ago. i started to learn how to shoot.
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i was in a special school for that. >> reporter: on the outskirts of his city recently downed russian attack helicopters suggest the ukrainian military also saw this war coming. they've managed to stop russian forces in their tracks, regaining territory lost at the start of the war. 5-year-old misha is recovering from shrapnel wounds to his head in the basement turned bomb shelter at mykolaiv's regional hospital. his grandfather vladimir shows me phone video of the bullet riddled car his father was driving with his family to escape the russian advance. russian soldiers, vladimir calls them bastards, opened fire on the car, killing misha's grandmother and mother. as we speak, the air raid siren goes off. taking shelter is an oft practiced drill. stay calm and carry on.
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and just as ed is hearing in odesa those air raid sirens, we also heard them a few minutes ago. they've been going off almost every hour all day long. and even though the russian forces have been significantly pushed back from the outskirts of this city, there is a real fear that something could happen, they could come back just as easily as they were pushed away. so what we saw today, don, is the city authorities are cutting down massive trees to use those trees to help reinforce trenches on the outskirts of the city and reinforce barricades on all of the roads coming into it. don? >> all right, ben wedeman, thanks. alisyn and victor, you saw the city official there, the mayor. you have mayors of towns. you have the ukrainian parliament and just average
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citizens suiting up, arming themselves not just counting on the west and nato but counting on themselves to save their country. >> and, in fact, we will talk to one of those right now, don. thank you very much. a senior defense official said some russian forces are drawing back from areas north and northwest of kyiv, and troops have likely abandoned the airport outside of the capital. but the region is still very much under threat from increased air strikes as russian troops regroup. so joining us now is a dual american ukrainian citizen and veteran defending his homeland in kyiv. it's always great to talk to you. tell us what you're seeing around you today in kyiv. >> hi. well, lately it's been really quiet in kyiv. air sirens go off every now and then but it's been much more stable and more quiet here because it seems like they are
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retreating, they're pushing back, i don't know why. it's been better. the situation in kyiv is better. >> and do you feel as though that is progress, or do you think the russians are regrouping and planning something else in kyiv? >> well, you know what, i think progress will be when we are completely kicking them out of our country. right now i don't know. we are getting ready for them to regroup. that's our thought. that's the only thing we think of. we don't think they're just decide to go back. we are getting ready for them to reg regroup. you have to be ready with russia. i know they're saying they are taking their forces back from the capital, but, you know, you have to be ready. we are ready. we're getting ready and we'll see what happens.
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>> miro, why do you think russian forces weren't able to make more gains in kyiv? >> well, first of all, i don't think their military is as good as they want people to seem. i think their intelligence and intel was wrong. they did not expect such a high resistance. they did not expect our military to be that good. i mean, honestly, i personally am a little bit surprised as well because i thought that it would be much worse here around the capital. but, you know, it is the capital and the main city in ukraine. it's heavily guarded. our air defense system is a little bit better than in other cities. so, yeah, that's it. i think their planning was
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wrong. and i don't see how they can correct that in the future because we are ready for any outcome or any scenario now. we are 35 days ago when the war started we weren't as ready but we still kick them and pushed them back. now i see that our national guard, our military, our national police that i work with, we are ready for anything and we are on the high alert on standby but we are ready. >> miro, your story is so fascinating to us because, you know, a month ago you were a film student at new york film school. and now you are in ukraine and fighting for your country and every time we've talked to you, you just show the same resolve and courage. we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and we
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will check in with you soon. take care of yourself. >> take care. thank you. bye-bye. peace talks are expected to resume tomorrow. how realistic is it there will be some diplomatic solution? we'll talk about that next. and the justice department's probe into january 6th is reportedly expanding to include the pro-trump rallies that took place before the riot. and unforeseseeable. for investors who can navigate this landscape, leveraging gold, a strategic and sustainable asset... the path is gilded with the potential for rich returns. this is the new world of work. each day looks different than the last. t whatever work becomes, the servicenowlatform will make it just, flow.
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didn't hold up their agreement to scale back operations in key areas of ukraine. the former ambassador at-large for the ministry of foreign defense. do you share any of that small portion of optimism there can be meaningful result tomorrow? >> i was extremely skeptical and engaged in hope. my skepticism was about the negotiators russia sent to these talks. they are mostly former politicians with little influence or proximity to putin but all of a sudden the last time it's either a game or it's real or tangible, i hear both
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versions are in play. let's hope it's not a situation where you give up. >> hope springs eternal. >> in his estimation quite soon, his words, ukrainian forces and the reorganization will surround forces in a third of the country. we're talking out east. that land bridge through mariupol and through the crimea which was annexed eight years ago. if russia were able to hold a third of the country how would that change the peace talks with ukrainian officials.
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>> considering how miserably the russian army has been performing so far they got their butts kicked all over the country. this russian army rather outdated machinery and it would be difficult. understand the ukrainian army is right now stronger than ever and more motivated than ever. we know what we fight for and die for. russians don't. >> at the end of any of these talks there has to be the basic premise russia and, therefore, vladimir putin, is a good faith
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actor, even if he gets a slice of the country, that he won't come back for the rest of the pie. considering he's made that commitment before and you see where we are today, is that possible ukraine could ever take at face value a commitment from vladimir putin? >> never. of course never. if he's ready to sign a paper that would give us some time of peace, we shouldn't be too arrogant not to sign it. of course we don't trust russia ever since they broke their promise to respect our borders indef indefinitely that they signed in 1994 and annexed crimea. putin is evil. putin is not trustworthy. putin must go.
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sooner or later. unfortunately, right now he's the one making the decisions and he is under pressure from the world and from the ukrainian army. >> all right. ambassador, thank you. so back here the first member of donald trump's family meeting with the january 6th committee today. we have the details just ahead. a free plan at fidelity, e nina has a plan based onon what matters most to her. and she cacan simply focus on right now. that's the planning effect. from fidelity.
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the january 6th select committee talking for the first time to a member of donald trump's family today, just wrapping up an interview with trump's son-in-law and former senior adviser jared kushner. >> his appearance comes as the justice department is widening the investigation to those who planned the pro-trump rally before the capitol attack, not just the capitol rioters. joining us now is former deputy assistant attorney general harry litman. good to see you again. let's start with jared kushner. he was not in the white house. he wasn't in the country in the days leading up to january 6th, so what can they learn from him? >> a few things. first, he does figure in -- and we've been hearing about him in the last week, victor, including in one of the emails between mark meadows and gub ginni thom.
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she forwarded one to jared kushner. they can ask him things about ivanka. she figures centrally. she's the person people tried to prevail on repeatedly to have trump call off the dogs. just his testifying makes it, i think, more likely or puts more pressure on her to testify. she's in voluntary negotiations now, and they can ask him her. i think you're right, he's not a big font of information here. he was out of the country working on the abraham accords. >> harry, talk to us about the expanding probe from the department of justice. they're not just looking at the violent rioters. they're looking at people who may have planned it, also that slate of fake electors. >> yeah. the biggest news of the day, and it's a big news day, so we know they're doing at least that. we know now there's been a grand jury meeting for a couple months, and we don't know it's limited. they certainly are looking at who funded it.
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they're looking at so-called vip attendees at the january 6th rally, but they may be looking at the whole sort of stone and flynn kind of netherworld and looking at legislative and executive branch officials. when you undertake an investigation of that, who is at the tippy top? donald trump. so that means they really have shifted focus and are including the broader look at what everyone has been so anxious about for them to actually make headway on. >> harry, on these slates of fake electors or the fake slates of electors, either way you want to go, how deep does the exposure go? just the organizers, top level people, or to all the people who signed on to these documents? >> right. so, look, a conspiracy here, they call this a hub and wheel, meaning everyone who is involved is responsible for everyone the
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conspirators did. that means at least the six or more people in each state, and these are not people unlike d.c. people who are likely to fall on their swords for donald trump. it looks very blatant, so blatant, maybe there's a defense of, oh, i thought it was okay. it looks like a very clear violation of law to which there may be some kind of intent defense. these are exactly the people who were on the phone with him leading up to it, and they may have a lot of information to give. in general, this is the game now. they want to get information from people leading up and up and up and not just the ragtag folks at the rally. >> harry litman, thank you. >> senator mitt romney says there is an agreement in principle on a bipartisan deal on the proposed $10 billion package to continue to battle against covid-19. the goal is to pass the bill next week before the congressional recess. >> manu this is a high priority for the biden administration. tell us when this could happen.
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>> reporter: yeah, this is a significant moment because congress has been struggling for weeks to get a package together to deal with the covid response. there are concerns president biden raised that resources are being depleted dealing with everything from monoclonal antibody treatments, distributing the vaccines to people later this year and they need more money. congress has struggled to get that together because they have not figured out exactly how to pay for this package. but just earlier today mitt romney, the lead republican negotiator, told a group of us they have a, quote, agreement in principle to have about a $10 billion package to deal with therapeutics, to deal with vaccines, to help with more tests and the like, and this would be offset -- the money would come from the american rescue plan, which was the package passed last year. there's some money that is left over they said could be redirected in different ways to help offset the $10 billion
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cost. this $10 billion is still a fraction of what the white house wanted. they wanted more than $20 billion to deal with this and even earlier in march there was an agreement among the leadership to do $15 billion in the covid response but democrats in the house had rebelled against how it would be paid for against the so-called offsets forcing nancy pelosi to pull back that package and ever since there have been these bipartisan negotiations happening in the senate to see if there can be an agreement before the senate and house leave for a two-week easter recess at the end of next week. now they have this $10 billion agreement they have to draft the language, the official cost of the bill, and then the senate can act potentially as early as next week and we'll see if the house does as well. we'll see if any other snafus emerge, which is always possible in the legislative process. >> manu ragu, thank you. a federal judge in florida struck down portions of the state's controversial election
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law ruling that it unconstitutionally targets black vote voters. in a scathing opinion u.s. district judge mark walker writes the restrictions on drop boxes and voter applications were enacted, quote, with the intent to target black voters because of their propensity to favor democratic candidates. >> the judge put florida under preclearance, that requires certain states to seek the okay of a federal judge or the justice department when making changes to its election rules. chris rock spoke last night for the first time about that will smith slap at the oscars. we'll tell you what he had to say next. ever wonder what everyone's doing on their phones? they're banking, with bank of america. the groom's parents? they just found out they can redeem rewards
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comedian chris rock spoke during his first public appearance since getting slapped by will smith during sunday's live oscars broadcast. >> cnn has obtained audio of what rock told the sold out audience in boston. >> taking it off the screen is the only way to read that. >> basically he said he was still processing. >> we'll try to get you the audio. he didn't have much to say. he's thinking his way through it, understandably. cnn entertainment reporter was there for both of chris rock's shows last night. so what did he say and what was the mood inside the theater particularly his mood? >> reporter: yeah, look, i'm
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here in boston. right behind me is the wilbur theater where chris rock performed two shows last night. i have to tell you everyone was so excited to see chris rock. when he came out he didn't get just one but two standing ova ovations. he was wearing all white and he appeared to get emotional. at one point he said i'm getting misty. just let me do my show. he said i'm still processing everything and at one point i will address this. it will be serious. it will be funny. and then later in his second show at 10:00 p.m. he said despite what you've heard, i haven't had any conversations yet. and he's meaning with will smith. diddy had come out and said they squashed things and they had not. >> chloe, i think we have the audio right now. let's see if we can hear him in his own words. >> welcome to the show.
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y all got me misty and [ bleep ]. i don't know like a bunch of [ bleep ] about what happened. if you came to hear that, i'm not -- i wrote a whole show before this week, and i'm still kind of processing what happened. like, i am -- [ cheers and applause ] so at some point i'll [ bleep ] and it'll be serious, it'll be funny. i'm going to tell some jokes and talk about -- it's nice to just be out. >> that was worth the wait. not so much to hear him but the crowd's love, that roar of
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support for him, chloe. i don't know that i was expecting it to be quite that loud and enthusiastic but also, chloe, while we have you, tell us what happened with the academy's board of governors, what came out of the meeting, what's next for will smith. >> reporter: so, first of all, this was all happening at the very same moment. so the academy of motion pictures, arts and sciences, their governor's board was literally having a meeting about what to do about will smith in their annual postmortem they have after the oscars and they put out a statement cnn obtained and participate of it says that things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. while we would like to clarify mr. smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognized we could have handled the situation differently. they said, alisyn and victor, they've given will smith 15 days notice, he can respond in writing. they will announce on or around that time what they're going to do, what are the repercussions.
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will he be suspended from the academy? can he not be a part of next year's oscars? we will have to see what they decide to do. we still haven't heard anything from will smith, and even though he publicly apologized to chris rock, it doesn't sound like he's directly apologized to chris rock at all. >> okay. all interesting and we'll see what the academy does. there's no playbook for this. chloe melas, thank you very much. >> that's an interesting element and a bit disappointing there has not been, according to chris rock, any communication between the two of them, that will smith has not apologized to chris rock -- >> personally. he did do it on instagram. he did it publicly. one of the interesting things i think about this how public it all was, the public humiliation for both of them, getting slapped publicly on this international stage, then the public apology. it's very sort of celebrity driven rather than, as you say, just one-on-one.
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>> when you saw me on the phone, i went back to look at will smith's social media to see if there had been anything posted since then and it's just that white lettering on a black background, i would like to publicly apologize to you, chris, and all of that. he has a fantastic social media team. they shoot videos of him and his family and they can get a camera and have him sit down, even if he won't call, and on camera apologize to chris rock. i'm not saying this isn't heartfelt, but you haven't called the man, and all these videos and well edited and shot videos, all well lit, and you post this written statement. it may be heartfelt, but you walked up on global television and slapped a man across the face. >> i think that chris rock has given us all a master class in how not to escalate. he didn't escalate. he went on with the show, and then he told his crowd last night. i'm still processing. i don't have any words for you right now. i'm still working it through, which i think is also just a
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really interesting and good lesson for all of us. >> we'll see if the conversation happens. meanwhile, president biden announced an unprecedented release of oil from the strategic reserves this afternoon, how that will impact gas prices ahead. his fututure became my focus. lavender baths always calmed him. so we turned bath time into a busininess. ♪ and building it with my son has been my dream job. ♪ at northwestern mutual, our version of financial planning helps you live your dreams today. find a northwestern mutual advisor at this is the new world of work. each day looks different than the last. but whatever work becomes, the servicenow platform will me it just, flow. whetheit's finding new ways to help you serve your customers, orchestrating a safe return to the office... wait. an office?
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president biden today announcing an unprecedented release of oil from u.s. emergency reserves in an effort to lower the sky-high gas prices. >> our prices are rising because of putin's action. there isn't enough supply. and the bottom line is if we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now. >> a million barrels of oil will be released every day for the next six months. cnn's matt egan is here. what do we know about the impact this will have? >> well, this should help but no one should expect gas prices to suddenly get cheap. this is really all about supply and demand. the war in ukraine set off this massive supply shock. the white house, they can't force u.s. oil companies to add
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supply and can't force opec to add supply and can't do anything to lower demand so this is really the only lever they had to pull. 180 million barrels being released. that is three times bigger than anything we've ever seen before. the previous record was a few months ago. within minutes of this coming out, we did actually see oil prices come down sharply. they're down about 6, 7% as we speak, trading just above $100 a barrel, so lower than they have been but not cheap. experts i'm taulking to do expet gas prices to possibly come down a little bit but they're still concerned about prices going up this spring and summer. they say gas prices could hit record highs this spring and summer. two big obstacles. one, this is a big move, but the size of the shock is even bigger. there's estimates of 3 million barrels per day from russia coming offline. the spr is not a bottomless pit of oil.
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it was at a 20-year low before this move. this would bring it about down to the lowest level since 1984. either that oil gets replaced, which adds demand, or it doesn't and that's less firepower for next time. either way, it could support prices. >> matt egan, thank you. president biden says there's some indication that russian president vladimir putin is self-isolating and punishing some of his advisers. we'll have more on that and the latest from ukraine, ahead. save yourself an average of seseven hundred and thirty dollars. (customemer) that's something. (burke) get a whole lot of something with farmemers. ♪we are farmers.bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bumm♪ when alaska airlines needed a partner for the complex operations of travel - they made the switch to t-mobile. our 5g has alaska airlines and their customers covered, from major hubs to reme destinations. with 5g coverage ready now. for the demands of today and the future, t-mobile's network powers alaska airlines as they deliver next-level care for all customers.
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today the biden administration is marking international transgender day visibility with a series of changes supporting transgender americans, including the option to choose x when identifying gender on u.s. passport applications. that starts next month. and then starting next year, the social security administration will no longer require doctor's notes to update gender information. >> but some states are curbing transgender rights. just yesterday republican governor doug ducey signed a bill banning surgery until 18 and another bill that prohibits transathletes from competing in women's and girls sports in some schools. we want to tell you about a weather alert because parts of virginia, north carolina are
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under a tornado watch. at least 214 were there month. and that's the most since record keeping began in 1950. >> the previous record was set just last year, 191 tornados reported in march. typically there are only about 80 tornados on average in march. "the lead with jake tapper" starts now. putin's troops may be losing one battle, but are they winning the war? "the lead" starts right now. nato and the biden administration point to small victories for ukraine amidst blunders by russia, but putin continues to pulverize south and east ukraine. so are we headed to some sort of stalemate ending up with two different countries, an occupied ukraine and a free ukraine? plus biden goes big, announcing plans to release a record 1 million barrels o


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